Interview with Catherine Dachtler founder of The Pole Factor

Posted: Jan 05 2014

As the new year kicks in, we talk to Catherline Dachtler to find out what's in store for this years Pole Factor competition...

1. What is Pole Factor?
It started as a little friendly local event to us in Colchester for our students to a) have something to strive towards, b) to show case their work and c- for other schools to have a friendly base to meet on common ground to share time and experiences with each other. Soon it became a very busy event with lots of entrants wanting extra support and with the live feedback we offer from our judges the crowd also get to hear and find out what the judges like and how each performance can be enhanced. We divided the genres of dance by the music relative to dance styles, and they are judged on this too, so simply put we can differentiate between pole styles as either contemporary, sporty or club which we named freestyle, of costumes etc must be relative to the genre they choose.

2. When is the next event?
Events will run all over the country from September to May, this year we are doing a different event as a one off show, with the preliminary rounds during the day and the evening performances as the championships.

3. Can any one enter?
Anyone and everyone can enter this event, it is a NO RULES pole sports event, no stripping no nudity is basically the only unsaid rule, Groups, teams, solos, guys girls, any one can enter!  It's not a competition as we may all think of competitions to be, firstly because the judges give live feedback for the crowd to learn from too, as said tho this is only in the day this year, The other unique component is the scoring and we only judge you on what you do and how you do it. Totally individual, ie, a front hook spin done well gets the same points as an advanced power move done well, so any one of any level or any experience has the right to perform to his or her best at that time and awarded for that critiqued and supported so they can go on to enhance every performance.

4. Has it been easy to segregate the style?
Yes it is easy for judges because say a contemporary style dancers wants to explore Free style, they change their foot wear or add heals, they have a club type costume and will have part or all their chosen song as a rap/hip-hop melody or type, instead of expressing a story like a contemporary contestant would they are showing how a club dance will be, therefore some moves may be suitable to that type, if it doesn't work or if there are areas that can be enhanced to help with the scoring then the judges critique on this for the benefit of the performer.

5. Where do you see The Pole Factor heading?
Every year we take it as it is, with events last year in scotland and down south was totally amazing but to have 1 big event on day is very exciting, and while we are still being asked when is the next one we will continue, its a lot of hard work and theres a huge responsibility to please every one at the events and to make sure they get what they wanted from it but its not for making a profit its to keep the sport alive, to make sure theres room for every style every level and to give performers a leg up onto the stage under the bright lights.

6. Tell us about the categories and competitors.
The categories of the Pole Factor Show still has amazing rewards & prizes, apart from the Novice section where you can just perform get feedback, but not scored.  We have 3 'classes' as such and every one can enter these at any but mostly elimmentary level, plus this year there is another level being introduced, Open level, and at Open you can either enter by passed accumulated points, or by request if you are comfortable to perform with advanced polers.  Initially the whole event is categorised by your dance style, we want to try and separate the styles, this is helping the dancer create a better performance by allowing his/her elf full potential in one genre, although you can enter more than once on the same night in a different category, you are graded in each style you enter.

So to simplify, classical music will be set for contemporary dance styles, rock/pop music is encouraged in sport style, and rap, hop-hop is advised for freestyle club type dancing.  So you see the judges are looking for a certain 'code' for each, the costumes the dance style and the performance they give must be relevant to the chosen class.

I see the Pole Factor relatively a bit like horse riding, every one who rides, just rides, but they focus on either jumping or dressage or cross country, but by distinguishing their style, same as pole, but here the music makes it easier for a ley person to understand what type of poler you are or what style you follow. Eventually after so many points scored, there is another level you can add on, Novice is not wanting to be scored, intermediate then open, open allows you to choose another category of artistic from sound tracks.

7. As well as all the amazing competitors you also have a panel judges. Tell us about your judges and how the competitors will be marked?
We've had some amazing judges in the past and we'll be announcing our panel of judges very soon.  If the performer / contestant has opted in to be 'judged' they are categorised and judged on 100 marks, theres 10 sections, 10 marks each section.  This includes stage presence, right genre, how the pole is used, costume, likeability, move execution, you see, we are looking for new up and coming performers that don't know where to start, so we give them that opportunity to shine and help them more with the live feedback, we have had some amazing performers pass through our door, including Rebecca Howard, Ian Matthews, Daniel Rosen and many more, all of which were a pleasure to watch and were performers we wanted to see more of as they inspired so many, this year the new Open category will allow these top scorers to enter a different division.

8. What is it about pole dancing that you enjoy the most?
On a personal level i could see the possibilities of the pole uniting so many of us as an artistic fitness apparatus, those looking for fun in their workout, those new to working out.  The appeal that so many top performers give to us is amazing! I don't pole my self so much now and feel so weak and feeble when i see what others are accomplishing, I'm with them every step of the way!

9. What are your favourite strength training moves on the pole and why?
Oooh well i can be a beast of a teacher, but in all honesty this question is a great question but it really depends on who it is and where they are on their training. So basic basic basic, press ups, then press ups with pole at 'superman' thigh hold, into supported handstand, into caterpiller, into reverse climb, into ayesha. Umm  another, say, laying bicycles, laying L overs (arcs) accompanied with laying pole legs up lifting with butt in shoulder mount hold ideally, from there sitting again shoulder mount hold, lifting bum up off floor, to standing invert hold, knees up to chest, to wide stance legs straight, legs up, to same hold legs straight invert, you see every element is as important as the other but as an instructor you must must must know what comes in what order for strengthening to reach the next all important mental and physical mile stone, to reach the next and so on, theres so many like these and as simple as it may sound its often forgotten because we just want that next move all too soon.

10. What pole dancers do you admire or inspire you?
Honestly i admire every one!! Of course the top tots that pushed boundaries 10 or so years ago, the girls in the clubs working so hard and loving their jobs, the ladies like Kay Penney who had a vision, believed and went for it, the ones just starting out in classes walking in with their lil knees knocking hoping they can go home n tell hubby or who ever or just them selves that they can blooming do it and look n feel great too in a supportive environment, Jess Norris for her dedication at such a young age, Pole2Pole magazine for always pushing forwards, Donna Gant for never changing but forever developing, Sally Ann Giles for being a statuesque rock in British Pole, the students that spend their hard earned wages, the pole makers, oh gosh i admire every one in pole and every one deserves a special place within it!

11. Where would you like to see pole dancing in the future?
I'm not bothered about olympic bids, i see its restricting a uniqueness within pole dance, its crushing many pole dancers dreams, and to see so many performers dancing to the same music, restricted styles urgh bores me..... its always been and always will be individual, thats why i love the POLE FACTOR because it allows you to show off and perform and be recognised, but while still enhancing you as an individual.  It is definitely a sport now, and an extreme sport really, i can see why believers want it in the olympics, but c'mon, pole attracts all persons and you can say its from the circus or another root but its the glamour of the clubs and the feminine ways that make this so special, any one trying to close a door on that will be left out in the cold in my PERSONAL opinion!  Not to say i wouldnt support an olympic bid or a performer reaching for their goals and their dream if that what they want. For me, pole dance in the future is just what it is now, enjoy a bit of classy feminine fitness and take it further than a hobby if you can.

3 words that mean pole dancing to you.
Your  Chance  to  Dance  &  Enhance  You!

13. How do people find out more?
If they go onto in the events tab theres Pole Factor and that will link through to the sales box office!  They can also call me, email me to apply to enter.

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